Three-year-old Lucy Boucher from Northern Island is the first child to receive an adult kidney transplant using 3-D printing.
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Lucy suffered a heart failure at 4 months old, which damaged her kidneys due to lack of oxygen. She was put on dialysis until she’s old enough to undergo a transplant.
Chris, 35, Lucy’s father donated his kidney to save his daughter’s life.
A detailed model of the donor’s kidney and Lucy’s midsection were created using a 3-D printer. According to the surgeons at London’s Guy’s and St. Thomas’ and Great Ormond Street Hospital, the 3-D models would help them map out the operation with accuracy that would minimize risks during the transplant.
The surgery took place in November and was declared a success. Both father and daughter were in recovery.
According to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, “It is the first time in the world that 3-D printing has been used to aid kidney transplant surgery involving an adult donor and a child recipient.”
Chris said, “My first reaction when I saw the 3-D printout of my kidney was surprise at how big it was and I wondered how it could possibly fit into Lucy. Seeing the model of her abdomen and the way the kidney was going to be transplanted inside her gave me a clear understanding of exactly what was going to happen.”
The toddler’s mother, Ciara, was also shocked when she first saw the 3-D printout, saying, “We found it amazing that we could see these incredibly detailed models of Chris’s kidney and Lucy’s abdomen.
“Considering all the potential complications, it’s fantastic that everything has gone so well. It’s a massive relief. The transplant is life-changing for Lucy,” Ciara added.
The hospital purchased the 3-D printer in August in order to help with conducting organ transplant, especially the difficult ones.
Mr. Pankaj Chandak, a specialist in transplant surgery at Guy’s and St. Thomas’, said, “This type of surgery is especially complex. The 3-D printing of the donor’s kidney and the child’s blood vessels will assist the surgical team ahead of the operation and will increase the chances of the transplant being a success.”
Now several hospitals use 3-D orinting to aid surgeries especially for complex operations like hip replacements and organ transplants.
In 2014, the technology was used by a surgeon to make a new pelvis for a patient who had lost one to terminal cancer.
In April 2015, Organovo, a bioprinting company, started selling 3-D printouts of the first human kidney cell tissue to researchers to be used for drug testing.